Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) of Pakistan recently organized an impactful open street theatre performance of the play “Machine” in the industrial area of Gajju-Matta, near Lahore. The play, originally written by Safdar Hashmi, a courageous worker who met a tragic end, sheds light on the plight of workers within companies and emphasizes the necessity of collective struggle against various forms of oppression from their employers.
The street theatre event served as a platform to convey the struggles faced by workers in their workplaces, including exploitation, health and safety concerns, low wages, bullying, and harassment. Through powerful performances by talented actors, the play vividly depicted the harsh reality confronted by workers daily.
Towards the climax, the play delivered a resounding message of victory achieved solely through unity and collective organization. It highlighted the fact that workers can overcome exploitation and secure their rights only by joining forces and fighting against all forms of oppression.
In Pakistan, trade unions have faced a ban for an extended period, and even after the ban was lifted, the government has been hesitant to register workplace trade unions. Consequently, workers are left vulnerable to attacks by management, resulting in deteriorating living and working conditions.
The play “Machine” proved to be an inspiration for the workers who attended the performance, as it instilled in them a sense of solidarity and the importance of organizing within their workplaces. Given the current circumstances faced by workers in Pakistan, the only viable solution lies in collective action, forming strong organizations that can effectively advocate for their demands and put an end to all forms of exploitation prevalent in workplaces.
Performing arts, such as this open-air play, play a crucial role in raising the consciousness and fortitude of workers. By providing a creative medium to explore and address workers’ issues, the play effectively engages audiences and encourages them to take action.
The Pakistan Trade Union Solidarity (PTUS) stands in full support of PYA’s open-air play and vows to continue extending assistance in every possible way. Recognizing the profound impact of performing arts on the working class, PTUS acknowledges the significance of initiatives like these in fostering a sense of empowerment and inspiring workers to fight for their rights.
(All photo credits PYA Lahore)